Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is an online only, class-based, third-person shooter with a tongue in cheek approach to modern day shooters as the title implies, referring to the Modern Warfare series. While the game does take place in the Plants vs. Zombies universe it vastly diverts away from the tower defense genre and instead puts the players in the shoes (or roots) of either zombies or plants in all out warfare.
Each side has four different classes with their own unique abilities and strengths:
- Peashooter: Very fast and agile and can take moderate damage. Their abilities include being able to root in place and unleash a torrent of peas at opponents, the ability to run and jump at incredible speeds and a chili bean bomb with can devastate any opponent caught within the blast radius.
- Sunflower: The medic of the team, they have lesser firepower and armor but can revive any downed ally quickly and can use a healing beam which can quickly restore health. Other abilities include being able to root and unleash a beam of concentrated sunlight to damage opponents and being able to drop a potted healing plant which can heal any allies within it’s radius.
- Cactus: They are the snipers of the team, firing needles at medium to long ranges they can also release drones which can rain down corn strikes down onto opponents, barriers to slow zombies down and potato mines that can quickly defeat anyone foolish enough to step on them.
- Chomper: The heavy, they are slow and cumbersome but they can quickly defeat opponents by chomping them from behind and gulping them down with one bite, however this leaves them vulnerable to attack until they digest their prey. They can also burrow underground and unleash a surprise attack and set up vine traps that ensnare anyone who steps in them.
- Soldier: The all around class, they can use a rocket to jump onto higher places such as cliffs and roofs, throw Zombie Stick Clouds with can disorient plants caught within them and damage them and a ZPG which unleashes devastation, especially to rooted plants.
- Scientist: The medic of the zombies they can use healing stations to restore health and can quickly revive downed allies. They can also use warping abilities to get out of situations fast and use a sticky bomb which can be used to set up traps for wayward plants.
- Engineer: While a bit slower they can use a jackhammer ability to quickly transverse the battlefield as well as build teleporters scattered on select modes for zombie allies to get around faster. They also have sonic grenades which can stun plants and quickly force any Chomper burrowing underground and can use a Zombie Drone to unleash road cone strikes.
- All-Star: The heavy of the zombies, they can take much more punishment and dole out more but also are a bit slower. All-Stars can deploy shields that can absorb damage and use imp punts to take out groups of plants as well as a sprint tackle that can knock out opponents caught within its path.
There are also different variations of each class which can give them different weapons and the ability to have elemental damaging effects and also an alternate version of their abilities which can be used more often but less as effective as their default abilities. Players can unlock these classes and abilities by completing games and challenges and earning coins to buy card packs which can be opened to unlock these abilities and classes as well as A.I. reinforcements which players can summon in certain modes as well as new costume pieces used to customize the plant/zombie.
There is a 4-player co-op mode called Garden Ops (another play on Modern Warfare’s Spec Ops) in which up to four friends or strangers can team up and defend their garden against 10 waves of A.I. zombies. After wave five and ten, the players will have a boss fight which is determined by a slot machine which can produce multiple generic zombies but also stronger boss zombies that will take much more damage.
The other modes are competitive which include:
- Welcome Mat: A basic team deathmatch in which players start out with default classes as well as abilities and each time they are vanquished they are given a health boost.
- Team Vanquish: A standard team deathmatch where the team with 50 vanquishes win the match.
- Gardens & Graveyards: A mode where plants defend gardens against zombies with the goal of the zombies to stay within a predetermined area around the garden. If zombies outnumber plants they can quickly turn it into a graveyard, doing so before the time limit is up will increase the timer and unlock the next area until areas are conquered or the plants can hold off the zombies for a certain amount of time.
- Classic Team Vanquish: Team deathmatch but with default classes and abilities.
- Classic Gardens & Graveyards: The same mode but with default classes and abilities.
- Mixed Mode: A mix of modes and maps that randomly cycle through.